Happy Monday! First of all, thank you for taking the time to check out my blog. Whether you plan to become an avid follower or are just stopping by for a quick read, it means a lot to me that you are taking the time to learn about my journey. That is exactly what this blog is meant to do – document my journey to become a registered dietitian. Along the way, you’ll be able to see my ups and downs, some cool recipes, or even a few road trips!
So a little bit about me…I am a junior at the University of South Florida studying Biological and Social/Behavioral Health Sciences, and I plan to take out two minors in Nutrition and Public Health. The reason I say “I plan to” is because my major and minors have been in flux since I was a freshman. Originally, I came to college with the dream of becoming a sports medicine physician. They made a lot of money, got to travel with sports teams (if they were lucky enough to get that gig), and it just seemed like the perfect career choice for an A+ student with an athletic lifestyle. Sense the sarcasm? Truthfully, I had a love for nutrition that started in high school, but I found out that wouldn’t pay the bills. Thus, doctor it was.
My second semester of university, I went to a meeting to learn how to start an undergraduate thesis, and the speaker (a very old man) preached that the project should focus on something you love. He kept emphasizing this. Emphasizing how many people use the thesis as a way to explore passions that may not “pay the bills”. And that was it. That was when the light bulb went off in my head, and my career path changed forever. I jumped up and walked out of the room, called my mom, and told her I wasn’t going to be a doctor anymore. Imagine how shocking that must have been…her valedictorian, 4.0, doctor-to-be child was no longer chasing one of those “perfect” careers, but rather, he was pursuing his passion. But you know what the first thing she said to me was? “You gotta do what makes you happy, and if that is nutrition then so be it. You were going to be a good doctor, and you’ll be a damn good dietitian.” Gotta love that woman.
So, I changed my major to Public Health, picked up a minor in Nutrition, and rode that train for about a year before I realized that the Public Health major was not what I thought it was going to be. So in the spring of my junior year, I changed to Health Sciences because it had everything I needed for graduate school and wait for it…I could graduate in three years! Keep in mind that I realized this in January of my junior year, which meant that I would have to tour graduate schools, take the GRE, and apply to them in a matter of a few months. I also had a part-time job as a nutrition assistant, did research in an exercise science lab, and was already sleepless and stressed out of my mind. But it was okay. I would find time somewhere, and I did. My days became the 5:30 am to 12:00 am grind. I got up, had my coffee, went to the gym, went to class, went to work, did homework, and went to bed. Social life? Ha, good one. By the time Friday night came around, all I wanted was to cook my introverted self a nice dinner, catch up on homework, and watch Netflix for an hour before I fell asleep. And that was my life for six months.
Somewhere in there I developed irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which made my days a living hell. It wasn’t fun being constipated 24/7 or finding blood in the toilet (sorry), but I didn’t have time for the doctor. I had shit to do. So I pushed through it, and by the time summer break came, it was unbearable. In the two weeks I had between my last final and the first day of my May-mester class, I went to the GI doctor and found out that I did in fact have stress induced IBS. Of course, she tried to put me on medication, which was not an option for me…especially because the medication was an antidepressant. (On a side note, I learned that stress reduces serotonin levels in your gut, which is what causes the constipation. Similarly, depression is a result of low serotonin levels in the brain, so antidepressants conserve the serotonin. Thus, it would help relieve my symptoms.) Anyways, I realized how hypocritical it was for me to preach health to people when I was not even taking care of myself. So, I made the decision to extend my stay at USF to four years, but in order to do that I need to take out two minors, which at this moment I am thinking will be Nutrition and Public Health. This extension is not me giving up (its taken me a while to come to terms with it), but it is a chance for me to better myself. It is a chance for me to do things I could not have done before like become a certified personal trainer, build my own nutrition consultation business, or maybe even study abroad and finish learning Spanish. So, I am calling these next two years “Project Me” because it is my time and my chance to really dial into who I am and who I want to be. So if you choose to follow me on my journey, I’d love to have you along the way. If not, no hard feelings!
Let me just finish by saying that I am human. I will have ups and downs. I live a life. I go to school and work. I have aspirations, goals, and desires. I have a past, and I have a future. I am no different than you. With that said, let’s run this race we call life.